Akalashi’s World











{August 12, 2017}   Invisible Relationships

One of my favorite ways to communicate is through the written word. Whenever possible, I prefer to write. I prefer text messages over phone calls, notes over verbal instructions, letters over conversations. Not only is it easier for me to remember what was talked about if I see it in writing or if I write it, it feels more personal too. There feels like there’s more of a commitment when it’s written down.

For a long time I even preferred relationships completely in writing. I used Second Life a lot in order to meet and even build relationships with people. While there was definitely a visual aspect to the relationships, the visual potion was a person representing themselves however they most desired rather than what their physical bodies actually looked like. I felt as though that also created a level of intimacy that was almost unattainable in the real, physical world.

After moving into developing relationships in the real, physical world I still prefer writing. I prefer to text someone throughout the day instead of calling them on my lunch break and I prefer to receive cards from them rather than spoken affirmations. While I will go out and visit friends on a pretty regular basis now that wasn’t always the case. And what I enjoy the most is accessibility when we can’t see face-to-face.

When we meet people in group settings and then I continue to get to know them and to evolve the friendship or relationship through a messenger service, I realize now that I am leaving my partner out of this developing relationship. Sometimes that is intentional – building relationships can be intimate and personal – and sometimes it is unintentional. Sometimes the extent of the conversation is sharing a pug meme and he doesn’t necessarily need to be aware that such a message was being sent.

Sometimes he knows that I am talking to friends or partners because I will be in the middle of typing and I will ask for a moment before he starts speaking to me. Sometimes he will start speaking to me and I will stop what I was doing on the computer or phone because what I was typing was of very little importance and what he is saying takes precedence – not necessarily because he is the one in front of me, sharing space with me, but because of the nature of the conversation.

Those that I talk to through a messenger service are those that I also see face-to-face and that I also take him with to see face-to-face as well. He gets to see my relationship with them outside of just the written word. He gets to see how I interact with them in person, how affectionate (or not) I am with them, how I react to them in my personal space. From those indicators, he can tell how I feel about a person.

If I move away from someone when they get too close, he can usually tell that I have no desire for a physical relationship with them and that my interest in them is primarily intellectual. If I spend a lot of time messaging them, they probably have a lot of theories and ideas about things I enjoy talking about. If in person we do very little speaking but are very close to one another, he can probably tell that I enjoy sharing physical intimacy with them but that they may not intellectually stimulate me.

If I laugh a lot around them and seem easy-going, he can probably tell my comfort level with them. If I am stand-offish, he can probably tell that I’m still navigating the waters with a particular person.

As we spend time around people and he sees how I interact with them, it is a visual check-in to see how my relationship is developing with them. If he also notices that I am messaging them more or less, he can check on the relationship in that fashion as well. There is a lot of supporting evidence so that he has a lot of input about how things are going with the people in my life.

When that physical relationship goes away, there is very little evidence of a relationship at all. My girl moved out of state and without her here, stopping by the house, inviting me out, it is easy to forget that we still have a relationship. We do a lot of messaging back and forth and I will bring up some interesting things we’ve talked about if I think he might also find it interesting. We usually just check in with one another though and are far past the stage of our relationship where we stay up all night trying to get to know one another so he may miss seeing me message her.

Long-distance relationships are hard to maintain as they are, but they are harder to defend to a partner when they are also invisible. When there is no reminder that another person even exists, it can sometimes come as a surprise. If we don’t also remember to talk about our partners that we quietly message throughout the day, where someone might not see us doing it, it almost becomes a secret and as I’ve found, secrets can be very damaging to a relationship.

 

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Needle Activity

For our next activity, we would be releasing things. We would do this through a ritualistic piercing. If we’d never pierced anyone before it was fine, because we got a crash course in how to do so safely. If we’d never been pierced before, we were encouraged to step outside of our comfort zones and give all that we could to the experience. I had been pierced just once before and even when that happened I knew about the ritual of release and had attempted to do so on my own and failed miserably.

As we gathered around the Shaman that was performing the ritual, people were in a state of undress. We would be piercing our chests and therefore we should not be wearing clothing that would hinder the process. I do not like being in any state of undress before an audience of more than one, usually. Also, I told my slave that I may not participate in this particular activity simply because I had done this before and it hadn’t worked and, as well as that, I am often working on releasing the demons that once had any amount of control over me. I spend quite a bit of time revisiting things from my past and working through them to release them. I didn’t think I needed this activity at all.

I stood my ground as the drums were rolled out, keeping my MAsT shirt on as everyone else was standing bare-chested. I stood my ground as the first few people stepped up and received their first — and often times second — needle. I watched and I held space and I chanted and I supported every decision to take a needle but I still didn’t feel the need to receive one myself.

Until the Universe spoke.

As another was receiving a piercing, I had this “knowing” inside of me. The same knowing that I’ve discovered to be the voice of the Universe. There are never words spoken. The sentence always just comes across in one flash. I don’t hear it word for word or even see it word for word. The entirety of the message is there, inside of me, just like anything else I would just know.

You will be getting pierced.

I remember sighing inwardly but before I could even finish the breath I also knew who was going to do my piercing.

Part of the ritual was simply to ask the Universe if anyone was called to pierce the person asking to give release. There were no pairs made up beforehand. Sometimes a person who wanted to be pierced would have to wait a very long moment before anyone would step up. At least once I was afraid no one was going to step up at all and we would have to default to the person who taught us piercings.

For a moment, I felt some reassurance. In my mind, this person was incredibly experienced with needles which was precisely what I was going to need. The only problem that I was facing after that was I wasn’t quite sure what I thought I needed to release. I should have realized that would come to me in a matter of time as well.

When the leader asked who was called to release something a few people later, I heard my voice answering. My voice answered without me even realizing I was speaking. I had a moment of hesitation and then removed the armor that I had been wearing, exposing my pale skin to my tribe once more. I walked slowly to the middle of the circle and waited for the next part of the ritual to take place, where they ask who is called to pierce this person. Me. Who felt a strong enough connection that they were called by the Universe to pierce me.

I took a shaky breath and held it. The person that I knew was going to pierce me raised their hand and stepped forward.

My breath escaped me. I felt like there was a light shining around that person as they stepped forward with a smile and seemed to try to calm me. I spoke in a low voice because for me now, this part of the ritual was for me. That was important. For me. I had to do what I knew was best for me, regardless of what anyone else thought. I remember that my voice sounded nervous to me as I told them that I was going to need the bigger needle. They nodded and said they could do that for me.

There were two sizes of needles for us to choose from that they announced before we began: 21 and 14. Most went with 21. 21 is  nice, small needle that will do the trick nicely. I knew that I’d had that size when I was pierced before and it simply did not hurt. If I was going to let go of things that had been weighing me down, holding me back, I was only going to be able to let them go on the wings of pain. A 21 gauge needle certainly was not going to hurt me, despite the fact that I know I do not handle pain well at all.

The person piercing me rested their hand on my chest, sized up where they were going to pierce, pinched, sterilized, and then shoved the needle through before I could change my mind.

Meanwhile, in anticipation of the pain, I was focused elsewhere. I couldn’t watch the person piercing me. I couldn’t quite focus on my tribe, though I could see them right ahead of me, circling me, supporting me, holding space for me. I could only see the person that was working the drum. I could only hear the heartbeat of the drum. I could only focus on the connection coming from there straight into my body and as the person piercing me touched needle to skin, the drummer was connecting with me, feeling me, and playing my anxiety and my braveness through the drum and I felt like I was soaring.

I flew. I was grounded and I flew at the same time. It hurt. The needle hurt so bad and I released shame. Shame over who I’ve been. Shame over who I am. Shame over the fact that I’ve ever had shame about who I am. Shame of my fetishes, shame for my hypocrisy that I always tell my partners to never be ashamed of their fetishes or sexuality. Shame, shame, shame, I wanted it out of my body and it went. It hurt. Letting go of something so painful hurt.

Then I wobbled. My knees felt like they were buckling under me so I stood still and listened to the drum. Then I took another deep breath and assured the person piercing me that I was going to take another needle. I had one more thing I had to release.

Also, I would have to have another big needle, if that was okay with them.

Oink, oink. Woof, woof, woof.

These were words of encouragement that I had quietly uttered in leather conferences when there were no words to show support better than Woof. To me, it’s almost like saying ‘I grok that’, only with feeling instead of knowing.

Doubt. Doubt, you have to go. I used to spend so much of my time doubting. Doubting that I was as authentic as I claimed to be. Doubting I was as capable as I know I am. Doubting I had the plan when I was truly certain I did. Doubting that I had attracted the right people to my life. Doubting I could provide for them in meaningful ways. I had to break up with Doubt. There was no room for it anymore. I had to move on.

The person piercing me rested their hand on my chest, sized up where they were going to pierce, pinched, sterilized, and then tried to shove the needle right through me but this time it did not go like butter. This time I needed to draw upon the strength of the drummer, of my tribe, to make it through. The needle felt stuck, like I wasn’t quite ready to give up doubting myself. Like I needed to hold onto it when I most certainly did not. Finally, it went through. I was pierced. A sigh of relief came from me and I stood for a moment, basking in the moment, before taking my place in the circle once more, ready to support my tribe, to hold space once again.

Once everyone had been pierced we sang. We reunited. We celebrated making it through the piercings and letting go of some serious weight. I finally looked down at my piercings and realized just how huge the needles were and laughed. My slave looked less amused, borderline ill, but he never did tolerate piercings well.

But the ritual wasn’t just about taking something. The ritual was also about putting something (better) back into us. This part went much faster as there was only one person who was going to take the needles out so we didn’t have to wait for anyone to be called to serve for this. When it came to me, I asked for the Universe to give me Self-Acceptance. I feel like those in my communities have accepted me without struggle. I feel as though they listen to how I present myself and respect me for who I am, no matter how outside of the norm I may or may not be. The only one who ever had issue with who I might be was me. I was tired of beating myself up over not being able to just belong where I “should” belong.

Then, bravely and somewhat foolishly I suspect, I asked the Universe to give me whatever It felt I needed for the next part of my journey. There were gasps. I was asking for so much, knowing so little of what I might get. Later on, my slave whispered to me how shocked he was that I asked for such and jokingly reminded me that he was along for the ride as well.

As we bandaged our bleeding wounds and listened to the drums fade, we all came back to the Butchmanns reality and quietly clothed and readied ourselves for a meal.

 

Mummification Activity

After the piercing activity and dinner and a nice talk together, we all parted ways to go home. All weekend long I was trying to eat healthier, in a more conscious way, not eating a lot of meat. I know that in some circles the food one consumes has a direct impact on the magic they are working and to me, in a way, Butchmanns was magic that I was working on my soul, so I was trying that idea out. By the end of a full day of Butchmanns though, what I really wanted was meat. Lots and lots of meat. So we had pizza with nothing but meat on it as a late night dinner when we got home together, the slave and I.

We were processing the day together, even though I didn’t have all the words I wished I had at the time. We started talking about the upcoming activity, the one that was going to be the hardest for me. I had proclaimed that I might not even be able to do it. I cannot have my body restricted. I do not like having my arms restricted at all. I dislike having my movement restricted so much that I dislike hugging people who ‘linger’. If I do finally allow someone to hug me and I try to pull away when I feel the ‘end’ of a hug and they continue to hold onto me, I flip my shit. Usually only internally. I panic. I start down the path of Fight or Flight. I also make note not to hug that person ever again.

So the idea of being wrapped up in saran wrap and duct tape did not amuse me. I didn’t see any therapy in this activity for me. I was afraid that participating would ruin my entire Butchmanns experience and I was afraid not participating would ruin everyone else’s experience because we all swore to give as much of ourselves as we could.

Deep down inside I was also terrified of having an episode. I was afraid of having a breakdown, a meltdown. I was afraid of crying in front of everyone. I was afraid of calling out for help. I was afraid of swearing or being angry or just generally of showing any unrestrained emotion in front of people, in front of my slave. I was afraid of losing my shit, basically.

“Unless,” I heard myself saying, again, like it wasn’t even me speaking. Unless it was this one particular person that wrapped me.

And boy did the name I said surprise me.

This was a person I knew of but was not a person I knew. This was a person I hadn’t even finished deciding how I felt about that I was naming. If it was that one particular person, I think I could do it. Maybe. It was my best chance of participating.

So my slave suggested that I talked to the facilitators and explained the issue that I was having and that I request that I have this person wrap me. I refused. I explained that this was about receiving what I needed from the Universe, trusting in the Universe, and that if I went in and had that arranged, I wasn’t giving the Universe any kind of chance. I couldn’t do that. I would just have to go in and play it all by ear.

We slept. We woke. We had breakfast with the tribe. We gathered, we greeted, we got down to business.

We were encouraged to be naked for the mummification. I railed against this. Again, another point that was making my case for me of why I shouldn’t be participating. I don’t want to be naked in front of people. I don’t want to share my body in that way. I’ve never been naked in public and I couldn’t see this being my first experience for it at all.

I was assured I didn’t have to be naked but if I was mummified, I was going to sweat. I was going to be drenched in sweat by the time we were done. If I’d brought a change of clothes, right down to my panties, then I could change later and have the rest of the day be comfortable, but if I didn’t — and I didn’t — I was going to want to seriously consider being naked. For my comfort. For my sake.

It’s not like you have anything no one else has. And I remembered my mother saying that to me as a child when I had to change in front of her. I didn’t like it then and I didn’t like it now.

I went to the bathroom. No one had any idea how long we were going to be wrapped up in saran wrap and if I was going to do this, I didn’t want to have to be busted out early because of my bladder. Then I had to go again, because I was nervous. Then we starting talking about the different teams of wrappers. There were about four of them. Everyone would help. We’d start with some of the larger people first so there was plenty of help and that way when they were only down to four people in the end, it could be done easily.

I helped wrap. I was okay with wrapping. I still hadn’t decided if I was going on this journey or not. If I was going, I wanted to go last. I wanted to watch everyone else get wrapped. I wanted to see them brave and relaxed. I wanted to bear witness to their journeys. That felt important to me.

As soon as I was done helping wrap, as I was heading down to help again, a voice called out loudly to wrap Master Aki next. It took me a brief moment to realize that was me they were suggesting to be wrapped next. I hadn’t even committed to being wrapped.

Then that one person in particular that I had said I would allow to wrap me spun around, looked me dead in the eye, and said “Okay”.

The lights were dim. There was one single drum going, but it wasn’t being played by our drummer. Instead, a volunteer to help keep the atmosphere. The drummer did turn and remind them at one point ‘Like a heartbeat’ and I heard the rhythm change from erratic to a soothing, smooth, ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump.

The heartbeat was quickly drowned out by the sound of those working around me. I had undressed with some hesitation. My slave folded my clothes for me and set them aside with such care. I stood naked before this tribe, before these people wrapping me, and no one said a thing. No one cared. There was no better reassurance for me than the fact that no one cared. There were no lingering looks, there was no look of judgement on anyone’s face. No one appeared to respect me less for removing my clothing.

Before I could think about it too much, I was quickly clothed again. Saran wrap, passed from the person the Universe gave me and my slave, front and back, twist and turn, front and back, twist and turn. And then, much to my surprise, there was someone holding my hair. Just holding my hair. And that felt divine. There was such a gentleness to it, such a care, ensuring that it didn’t get wrapped up in the saran wrap, so it wouldn’t pull.

Then the one wrapping me showed such concern for the necklace that I wear. I told them I wanted it wrapped inside the saran wrap, not against my skin, because I’m allergic to the metal. If I’m sweating, it will itch, and that is all I’ll focus on. And they did just that.

I chose to have the blindfold put on me before I was lifted. If I was going to be dropped, I didn’t want the last thing I saw to be the ceiling. I was shrouded in darkness. I felt hands on my body. I panicked for a moment. “Stiff as a board,” they told me. Light as a feather I am not. But these volunteers lifted me all the same. Lifted me, positioned me, put me on the massage table, and my hair was perfectly placed.

Then came the stillness.

I have trouble being still and trying to quiet my mind. Whenever I have a moment where I do not have to be focused or in the moment, I like to think about what is coming next. I want to plan. I want to run scenarios through my mental simulator so if I come across that event in my life I already know how to handle myself. I think about how I want to improve myself. I think about how to give a better direct command to my slave so that he can serve me efficiently and without confusion. I think about how I could be doing better at work and what long term improvements I want to make to my home. I think. That’s what I do. All the time. But I knew now was not the time to think. Now was the time to be still and to allow an experience or a message or something to come to me.

I heard a pigeon outside.

The drumming stopped.

The room was still.

I wonder if I could force myself on a journey for my animal guide while I lay wrapped up in this saran wrap.

My slave was next to me and I could hear him shuffling about, speaking lowly. I could hear the rest of the tribe being wrapped up. I could hear the facilitators letting us know they were there and would help us if we needed it but then they stopped speaking unless someone addressed them.

There was stillness all around me but there was no stillness in my mind.

Maybe I was done. Maybe that was my experience. After all, the only thing I was trying to combat was my fear of being restrained. I wanted to get over my dislike of touch from strangers. I wanted to trust, essentially. I did that. I came and I conquered it all! Maybe it would be okay to break out of this ‘cocoon’ as everyone kept referring to it as. Maybe there was nothing else for me here. I tried to attend with no expectations.

I was cold. This disturbed me because I felt I’d been tricked into getting naked. By now I was supposed to be doused in my own sweat, uncomfortable from the heat. Instead, I was freezing. I was freezing and wishing I’d kept my clothes on so I had some warmth.

Then I was gone entirely into a vision.

Just as my vision was ending, just as I was starting to hear the beat of the drum again, a facilitator gave a little snip to my wrapping. Now it was okay to break free. Now it was okay to come out and see my tribe once more. I struggled. I knew I would struggle. I was having a hard time getting through the many layers of saran wrap on my torso. My legs were free. I could sit up. But I didn’t think I could get out of my confines. I was going slow, tearing through one layer at a time, my fingertips pressing and probing for any weakness in the material. I was scared that if I just tried to tear through it I would rip my necklace from my neck.

My necklace is part of a pair. Calvin and Hobbes. Little boy and stuffie. Partners in crime. My slave wears the other. If I broke my necklace I felt I would be breaking a bond. I didn’t want to risk that. But I couldn’t get out. I was suffering. I wanted to call for help but I couldn’t. I didn’t want to disrupt anyone else. I sat up. I felt panic. But then I got it. I removed my blindfold and there were eyes on me and tears in the eyes of my slave who had been watching my struggle, who thought what I was doing was beautiful.

Then I dropped.

We ate together but I wasn’t there. We gathered in a circle but I wasn’t there. We parted to have different discussions in different groups and they pulled my slave away from me and I needed him at that point. The whole reason for him attending was for me to stay balanced, to put my energy into, my stuffed animal for when things got rough, and now he was half a room away — he was a whole world away.

I sat at the Masters’ table but I could see my slave from where I sat. I watched him participating and was happy that he did not seem to be as affected by the mummification as I was. I listened to the facilitators asking us what we needed to know where we were in our lives right now. I listened to others ask questions and I remember being upset. Upset! I was so upset that they were asking these questions and then I chided myself. They had every right to ask any question they wanted. These were important things in their lives. And yet, at the back of my mind, a voice was screaming, ‘None of this is important!’ and I stopped and wondered why. Why would I think that?

Finally we came together once more. A Heart Talk. We were to talk of our experience. We were asked how the mummification went for us and how we’d changed since the beginning of Butchmanns. I sat quietly as everyone shared their story of their mummification. Most of them were beautiful stories. I heard a lot compare the experience to being a butterfly with the mummification being a cocoon. Now that they’d emerged they had beautiful wings and they would use these new wings to soar through each new obstacle thanks to their participation in this Butchmanns.

But I sat agitated. I sat not entirely sure of what I was going to say when it came to me, when it came to me. I considered not sharing at all. But I had to. And soon enough it was my turn.

I felt my share was wholly inappropriate, I started, and seemed to have everyone’s attention. After that statement, I felt everything slowly sliding into place. I finally realized why I was so agitated. I understood the reaction that I had to the questions at the Masters’ table. I understood why I felt everything was so irrelevant.

Before, during the mummification, I didn’t quite realize I was actually having a vision. But now that I realized it, I shared it with the group:

I laid in the darkness listening to nothing but a person snoring. Except, to me, he wasn’t snoring. To me, he was on a ventilator.

I heard steps being taken, facilitators — doctors really, walking around, looking at every one of us. No one had any words. They were so solemn.

We were dead. One moment we’d all been together, alive, talking and sharing and exposing our most personal lives and thoughts and feelings to each other and then something happened — I don’t know what — and everyone was dead.

Then I heard crying. Soft, controlled crying. A little girl. There was a little girl in the room. Someone must have brought her. A doctor must have found someone’s information and contacted the next of kin and the next of kin brought this little girl into this room of death and she just couldn’t take it and she was crying. But this was sad, so I understood, and I ached with her.

They must have had to identify a body because the sobs got stronger, louder, the aching hurt me more, and finally at the swell of emotion she screamed out for her daddy and my heart broke in pieces. The desperation in her voice, the need for her Protector to be alive and well and ready to hold her hand again was stronger than anything I’d ever heard for myself before and no one was there to comfort her. Her words turned to sounds and then to babble and then carried away in the current of the emotion.

Finally, I heard the sound of a heartbeat — the drum. Ba-bump. … Ba-bump. Slowly. Impossibly slow. Impossibly slow but then it started to pick up and as the sound of the heartbeat started to pick up there seemed to be light and as there seemed to be light there was music and as there was music there was rejoicing and as there was rejoicing there was freedom. I was alive again.

As I shared this vision that I’d had with the group I was crying. Tears fell from my eyes faster than I could even think about them. They fell without me worrying what anyone would think of me crying.

And I continued explaining:

While everyone is talking about how wonderful the experience was and how beautiful their wings are, all I can think about is how you’re dead. How every single person that I came to Butchmanns with — my slave included — is dead. While everyone is celebrating life, I’m mourning the loss of all of these people that I once knew.

And once I said it I realized that I was mourning. These were not the people that I came to Butchmanns with at all. These people were new. Something had been awakened in them and had to come to the surface. A new strength rose within them and we all learned and grew so much that we couldn’t simply have it in addition to who we were — it could only take over who we once had been. We had each been reborn.

There was a pregnant pause after I concluded sharing my vision as I considered the second part of what I was supposed to be talking about.

How had I changed from when I started Friday evening, so few days ago? My trust in the Universe is much stronger. My trust in myself is so much stronger. I felt I’d received confirmation that I am on the right path.

Woof.

****

Without my MAsT chapter, I don’t know that I would have ever been able to attend Butchmanns. Butchmanns was something that I’d known about for almost a decade, the first evidence that I had found that there were people out there like me. The promise of a M/s community was what kept me strong in my darkest days of sorting out who I really was and what I really wanted from my life.

The gift couldn’t have come at a better time either, as I was suffering from a lack of spiritual fulfillment. I had no idea that one weekend with these people could touch me in such a profound way.

And a very humble thank you to my slave who accompanied me not for his own journey but to assist me on mine.

 



I was fortunate enough to have some idea of what I was getting myself into when I signed up for Butchmanns. Years and years ago I had found it online and it was part of my long, long journey into a world of Leather and M/s. Thanks to my local MAsT chapter, I was able to go courtesy of them. While I understood that the weekend was pretty much a spiritual framework for whatever work I wanted or needed to do, I was pretty certain I was not going to have any wild revelations. I do a pretty good job of keeping up on myself, working through any problems I may have, and digging even deeper to find out more about myself when life is feeling calm.

When reading over the list of activities for the weekend, there was really only one thing that triggered some reaction in me: mummification. I have, in the past, had issues with being restrained. I do not like to have my body movement restricted, primarily my arms. For that reason, I tend to shy away from hugs. I’m not an overly affectionate person to begin with and I’ve encountered too many people who linger too long to make hugging fun for me. Even with my slaves I’ve encouraged them to sit on the ground and wrap themselves around my legs because that doesn’t bother me in the same way as having my arm movement restricted.

I knew I couldn’t just decide I simply wasn’t going to do it, but the mummification had a mental check mark next to it. That was something I might not be able to handle. There were a lot of emotions wrapped up in that one little activity.

Aside from that one thing, I was pretty ready to tackle the weekend. So this was my experience, broken down as best I could, trying not to hide what I truly experienced.

 

Blindfold Activity

The first evening we all came together and started to get to know one another. We shared a little information about ourselves, we heard a little bit about what the weekend was going to entail, and then we were told to stand up and move around and we were counted off. Half of the group was handed a blindfold and the other half was then blindfolded. The way it was handed out, I believed I was going to be doing the leading first and was very comfortable with that. However, I had guessed wrong and instead I ended up being blindfolded first.

This activity was not stated anywhere but I should have known there was going to be a trust building exercise before we really got into the heart and soul of Butchmanns. I openly admit that I have trust issues. I have issues listening to another person and trusting that they will not lead me into harm. The partner that I was given was very kind and gentle and made sure I was comfortable before they started leading me around but I recognized immediately the lack of verbal communication and pinpointed that the verbal communication was something that helped me to feel safe. First lesson learned.

I bumped into another participant, I worried about stepping on my guide’s toes, and I almost had a meltdown when I was taken through the back part of the room that was covered and therefore much darker than the rest of the room and had no warning that the level of light was going to change. I made a mental note to myself to warn whomever I was going to guide of that if I chose to take them in that direction.

At one point I felt I couldn’t take another step. I even stumbled for half of a step. Finally I put my hand down and tried to project energy around me so that I could “feel” if I was going to run into anything. Trusting in myself to keep myself from harm was what allowed me to continue the exercise and fortunately my being led around ended shortly after that.

 

Collaring Ceremony

I had the good fortunate to be able to talk to a few people who had previously attended Butchmanns before I ever even seriously considered going. I had known about the ‘partner swap’ and I had heard about how those who run the event will encourage everyone to change partners for the weekend if they came paired. I had heard the words said about how Butchmanns is a weekend of individual work, not a couples workshop, and how having another partner will help us to learn how to give clearer directions in the future of our relationships. I asked around to those who had gone before me, who were already in M/s relationships, and asked what their take on the separation was. I asked them if they found it to be beneficial and they unanimously said that they were fine with being separated and they learned from the experience and they were each happy to return to their own Master when they were done.

I decided against giving my slave away for the weekend. There were a lot of reasons behind this but the one that really prevailed was that if I was going to do any spiritual work this weekend, I needed to have him near. He has always aided me in my spiritual work. I have a hard time connecting with other people. I have a very kinesthetic  connection with my slave. Having him in the same room always helps but watching him serve and have to attend to another above me would have made it very difficult for me to process anything.

In an attempt to align myself with the Butchmanns spirit though, I had a long talk with my slave before we went. I asked that he would serve me as if we were a new couple. I asked that he would serve me only in ways that I asked for. I told him that I knew that would be a challenge but I felt that in doing so I could still work on my communication skills and ensure that I was ordering him to serve me in the most concise way possible.

We also discussed ensuring that we did not interfere with the process of the other. If he saw I was going through something, allow me to go through it. If I saw he was going through something, allow him to go through it. We would be able to discuss it later, evaluate it later, or handle whatever came of it later. I feel that we did a fantastic job of abiding by that throughout the entire weekend and my slave really only faltered once in serving me more than what I had asked for, using his inside knowledge of me and how I prefer things done to appease me as opposed to doing directly what I ordered.

As everyone separated and were being paired, we stood at the back of the room and watched. Then we all came together again and we were told about the collar. We knew going in that this was a Butchmanns collar, a way to remind ourselves that we are dedicated to being present at this event for the entire weekend, even when we went home for the night. I had no qualms with him wearing this other collar and he had no qualms accepting it.

There was a great deal of emphasis put on the fact that the Masters get a moment of joy when the lock clicks and we were told to give us space for that. I didn’t think I would be affected much by putting this around his neck because I’ve had an experience like this before but as he stood before me and waited for me to click the lock, I realized that despite all of our words and intentions and relationship dynamics, he’s never worn a collar like this for me. So I got a moment where I got a sliver of what it might feel like to someday collar my slave. I was so appreciative that we were warned of that moment so that I could really soak it up.

 

Flogging Activity

The flogging activity was the one that I was looking forward to the most. I used to love flogging. I used to flog just about anyone that would ask me. I had a great play relationship with a friend that revolved around flogging. Not just flogging to make my pussy wet, but flogging with intention. I flogged to give him release, to give myself release, and to enjoy a special and unique bond that we had. He brought ritual to the flogging and I adored him for that. There was a protocol added before every flogging and I adored him for that as well. He helped to make my favorite kink so sacred and that was something I haven’t really been able to recapture with anyone else.

Then we had one night together that went very poorly. I had a co-top with me and the energy flowing felt a little bit different but not necessarily bad. I led the dance in my usual way but he didn’t go where he normally went. There was a miscommunication in the middle of the scene and things went past where he was comfortable. At my next check-in we slowed things down because I felt there was something off. I brought him down and set him off to the side with his blanket, something that we usually did. However, I did not go through with the removal of his cuffs. I did go through our usual after care, gave him his space to process, and eventually he presented for the removal of his cuffs.

After that night we had something of a fallout. He handled himself well and later he told me I handled myself well. We talked about the emotions that arose for him and I listened and consoled him when I felt it was appropriate. We recovered from the incident through great communication and respecting one another enough to know where the other was coming from. Our friendship remained in tact but we went for a very long period of time where we did not play together and there was no playing together again in the foreseeable future. The only connection I had ever had to what I considered sacred kink had gone awry and I wasn’t sure I would ever get back to it.

I sold my floggers.

After I got away from that kink for long enough, I realized I had made a mistake. The same mistake I’d made years earlier when I tried to give up the kinky lifestyle altogether. Flogging was something that I did to make an energetic connection to people. Flogging was an activity where I felt closer to the Universe than just about anything else I did. Flogging was something that could make me wet when so few things in this world can really turn me on. So I made the commitment to buy another one.

After I spent an entire weekend agonizing over which flogger was “mine”, I eventually purchased the first one I handled. I’d known all along that it was mine but I was nervous about buying another one. I was nervous about going down that path again. I was nervous about playing with my slave. What if something went terribly wrong with him as well? That’s my own personal plaything. I had to push that out of mind for the moment and do what I knew was right for me.

I presented that Elk Hide Flogger at Butchmanns for inspection and it passed with flying colors. I held the tails in my hands and I breathed in the smell of my favorite, unused tool. I poured my energy into it in the moments that I had to charge it and then I stood on my side of the room and waited patiently to see who I would be paired up with. I wondered in the back of my mind how this was really going to go for me.

I knew I was supposed to be open to whatever the Universe presented me with. I knew that my partner was going to be just right for me in all the right ways. That did not stop me from having a person that I wanted to be paired with. I was fortunate that I was given that person immediately. We followed through with the protocol that had been advised of us, to give consent right up front, and for those flogging to state their intentions: to strike with power and love.

As I was flogging, I felt that I was following the orders perfectly. I felt like I was administering exactly what the Universe ordered. I stayed within the negotiated boundaries and the time was over in a flash. I was paired with another. I felt like my connection to the Universe was a little bit muddled that time and felt as though I hadn’t given what I should have and left slightly disappointed.

It had been suggested that everyone tops and bottoms. No one would look at anyone any differently. These experiences were here for us all to take. So I decided to bottom for my very first flogging. More important than that though, I was going to undress and be seen by a room full of people for the very first time. I passed my flogger to my slave so he could take a turn topping and I laid down on the massage table. I had an instance of enjoying the feel of the leather against my bare skin but other than that I didn’t get the same charge, the same zing, that I experience when I’m topping. So for the final short round I reclaimed my flogger and was paired up once more.

Again I was paired with someone that I had been hoping for. The energy felt good and we had a great connection as we were doing our preliminary negotiations and warnings. As the music started and I was able to start flogging, I felt like the messages of the Universe were coursing through my body and being delivered to my bottom strike after strike after strike. I felt myself grinning and dancing, my favorite way to flog. Every strike felt like it landed perfectly. I put out of mind the responses I was getting because we were instructed to. We weren’t there to flog for pleasure or delight — we were there as tools to give what was needed. But I so enjoyed delivering the message. It was quite a bit like the flogging relationship I had had before.

I walked away from that exchange high. We separated onto different sides of the rooms again. This time we were going to do a natural length flogging — approximately 30 minutes as opposed to the short 5 and 8 minutes floggings we’d been doing. For this flogging, we weren’t being paired together by the facilitators. The bottoms were instructed to choose the person they were most drawn to for the natural length flogging. I feel like the room hesitated for a moment and then the Bottoms started walking towards the Tops.

For a moment I felt apprehension. I was afraid that my slave was going to choose me for his flogging. I wondered what the faculty of Butchmanns would think about that. Not only did we remain together for the weekend, but now we were going to engage in our flogging together. I worried that someone else would want me and then veer away because of my slave, ultimately robbing themselves and me of our true message. But no one else seemed to be headed towards me and in a second, I was face-to-face with my slave.

Because we agreed to treat this weekend in accordance to Butchmanns spirit, we negotiated and he gave his consent up front. Within the confines of our relationship, there would be no need to get consent from him. Then he settled in for a flogging and I did my best to deliver one.

This might have been the only time at Butchmanns that I truly failed to serve in the spirit of Butchmanns. I found myself thinking too much during his flogging. Was I hitting him too hard? Hard enough? What was the message of the Universe this time? Was I hitting him harder because that was the message or because he’s mine and I can and I want to? And then I felt the “end” of the flogging. I felt like whatever needed to be conveyed had been conveyed. He didn’t appear to be going through anything especially emotionally and so I started to taper off. I worried about that for a moment as well. Was I ending too soon? But I had a feeling that when we were done, we were done. There was no point in beating a dead horse.

In the space and time immediately after, I continued to criticize my performance. But minutes and minutes after that I realized what a gift I’d been given. I just flogged my own slave. I didn’t do it perfectly. I didn’t act in absolute confidence as I wished I had. But I had finally flogged him. In all the time we’ve been together, I’ve never had a full flogging session with him. I tested my flogger on him one afternoon for a couple of minutes to see how it threw but that was it. I hadn’t wanted to risk ruining what we had with a silly flogging scene that I felt I didn’t need.

It felt good. It felt good to flog him. It felt good to get to play with my own pet. It felt good to wield the flogger again.

I gave a share about these things, about how I’d given up flogging, about how I’d never flogged my own slave. I shared truths that I wasn’t necessarily ashamed of, but that I wasn’t advertising to the world. I wasn’t even talking about these things to myself, in the quiet of my own head. In examination, I feel like we were absolutely the right people to have a message delivered during the flogging. After each exercise I thought I should trust in the Universe more and more. But thinking is far different from doing. Lesson Two.



{February 4, 2014}   Morning Ritual

I sat in a Dominant’s Circle not long ago and the subject of Ritual and Protocol came up. I adore ritual and protocol but I’ve discovered that most people do not necessarily care for it. I haven’t abandoned my desires for it but I have certainly scaled back from the full notebook and rules and protocols I used to issue to my new submissives. The idea was mentioned that everyone should have a Morning Ritual and six protocols to start off with. I believe the book ‘Sacred Kink’ by Lee Harrington was cited, though I have yet to verify. I found what they were saying interesting and I started going through what protocols I have in place with each of mine.

Junk was easy. She has lots of little protocols. I always want to know when she’s leaving and arriving somewhere. I want to know what she’s eating. I want to know when she’s home and what she’s up to. She has to ask for candy or soda and is only granted permission on special occasions. When serving me a drink, she must present it in a kneeling position. I remove her collar when I’m near, rather than just taking it off willy-nilly. There were plenty of things that I could think of. However, in considering my tiger, I realized I had none of these. Sure, there are rituals in place, but none formalized. There are protocols but none that I could think of as I retreated into my mind during the rest of the discussion.

While we were driving home, I was thinking that it could be very easy and very nice to start our days off with a formalized ritual. It would be easy enough to hear, “Master, may I serve you today?” each morning that I woke up and then I could answer “Yes, pet” before he went downstairs to serve me. But sometimes, first thing in the morning, I really don’t want to have to speak at all and I know that breaking a protocol, especially on the Master’s side, is a terrible, terrible thing to do.

So I considered how our mornings really go. We have to get up early, but we set a special ‘cuddle’ alarm, one that goes off and lets us know we have ten minutes to press our bodies together, sneak kisses in the dark, drown ourselves in the scent of our partner, and wake up as easily as we can hope to on a typical work day. Normally he will say good morning to me then and go downstairs where he prepares his breakfast, packs my lunch, makes our tea, and pours our coffee. When I amble down the stairs twenty minutes later, he meets me at the bottom of the stairs and wishes me a good morning again and we embrace. The kind of warm, snuggly hug that you usually only get after you’ve missed a friend for years.

As he scurries about getting ready for work, I sip my tea and read news articles. Or funny things. I read anything I can to get my brain working. As he scurries from the shower to the next stage of leaving, I watch him put his necklace on, a reminder throughout the day of who we are and who we are to each other. He makes sure to give me a kiss and he tells me that he loves me and he wishes for me to have a good day — the last of his words usually clipped by the closing of the door as he’s hurrying to his car in the garage.

So we don’t usually start our day with something as formal as “Master, may I serve you today?” but the intent and our relationship is at the forefront of our minds every single morning, without the words.



{October 21, 2013}   Education

Last week, my girl and I were invited to attend her boyfriend’s Human Sexuality college class. We sat up in front of people that we had never met before and we started talking about how our relationship works. For anyone that doesn’t know, we officially identify as a Daddy/daughter relationship. However, we started as Master/slave and that is still evident in some of the protocols and rituals that we practice. For instance, my daughter wouldn’t typically drive me around the city, or all the way to Seattle, but that is surely what she does. The official negotiation for that went like this: “Daddy, I will chauffeur you from here to the moon as long as you don’t shit on me.” Literally shit on her. She’s not into scat. My official response was a laugh and telling her I couldn’t guarantee anything.

My girl identifies mostly as an Age Player, but is sometimes very much in Littles space. When we talk about the difference, it’s easy for me to identify. While she just wants to Age Play, she wants to curl up next to me on the couch, take a sip of my beer while we watch some awful kid movie, and often lifts her skirt in a teasing, appealing manner. When she’s in Littles space and someone grabs her teddy bear and starts spanking it as an impromtu scene, she goes bananas.

The first half of the class focused primarily on her being ‘9’. Even though she actually went through the wide range of ages 3-12 in a short year. I knew we were finally out of the woods when she stopped carrying her teddy bear out in public everywhere we went.

Did I mention that us becoming a Daddy/daughter couple almost ruined the relationship? There was a lot of selfish immaturity going on there. I was having a hard time with doing Littles/Age Play stuff all the time and she didn’t want anything else. I’d already made a commitment to her and so I couldn’t just abandon her, but I was feeling pushed out of the way and run over, trying to manage all of this new information and sensory input the best I could. I shied away from a lot of it because it made me uncomfortable and relegated myself to sitting in the shadows of a Daddy Authoritarian position during the first months, as that was the only way I could really exert control. Eventually we got past it and now I can enjoy the relationship more because she’s not stuffing it down my throat like she used to.

Next came the questions about me being a pedophile, and whether I was one or not. Again it seemed clear to me: because I was engaging in any kind of play with a consenting adult, it absolutely cannot be pedophilia.   Is this the kind of play a pedophile might enjoy participating in? I don’t know, I answered, because I’m not one and I can’t imagine they would enjoy it. After all, it is sex and a relationship with a consenting adult.

After that came a bunch of questions about morality. Are we immoral for doing what we do? Do we believe in “God”?  Would I let my ‘Little’ 9 year old give a blow job? That was a fascinating question because as Age Players, yeah, that’s the kind of thing that I want to see. Would I let my real biological (hypothetical) 9 year old give a blow job? No. Who would do that?

That was when we had to have a moment of education where I explained that a true child could never consent to having sex or doing any kind of sexual act. This diversion went on for quite some time. Eventually the Professor got us back on track.

With the nerve wracking class behind us, and feeling as though we’d done a pretty good job of explaining the difference between Age Players and Littles and which we were, we headed out for lunch, the four of us.

Poly, when done well, is amazing. I was pleased with her new boyfriend’s approach, ensuring he wasn’t going to do anything to get her in trouble, even though he couldn’t possibly — she’s in charge of how she handles herself and what rules she breaks. Watching the two of them together was adorable, especially because they flirt in the same way. I wasn’t sure anyone flirted like Junk does so that was very nice to see.

Then the four of us split into couples. The kids went off the to the Fair while Dad and ‘Mom’ went home to enjoy the rest of our Thursday off together. We sat down to talk over a nice cold beer and that’s when he asked me if I received his e-mail from the night before. I told him I had. All the resources on poly a person could want! But I wasn’t sure what message he was trying to send me. Was I not letting him date someone he wanted to date? Did he feel like I was suddenly doing poly wrong with him and Junk? I know that we sometimes have our issues but it didn’t seem to be anything that warranted an e-mail of resources about. He looked surprised for a minute and then told me that no, he sent it because he thought the class we were giving today was on being polyamorous.

So there you go. For all the communicating a person can do, there’s always going to be some minor detail that’s left out. Luckily, the assumptions that usually fill the hole weren’t detrimental. I was afraid he was being passive-aggressive, something we both dislike, when in actuality when I told him that Junk and I were presenting on our relationship, I left out the detail of which part of our relationship we were talking about. Education all around.

Later that week, after that class, there was another ice cream social and a party at our house. The party was smashing and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves so I’m looking forward to next month’s, where there will be a few more seasonal crafts for the kids to take home. And, hopefully, a Daddy’s room where some real Age Play can take place.



{May 21, 2013}   Reclaimed

Months ago the subject had been brought up again. We rehashed everything we’d gone through in the year previous. What did the piercing mean and what did Ownership mean? What was it to own someone? What was my biggest regret from everything that happened? This wasn’t like all of the record-spinning he’d done before though; this seemed more productive and thoughtful, as though the conversation might lead somewhere. For a while we discussed the possibility of him being pierced again. Giving back what was rightfully mine. I was excited at the prospect, as I never got to enjoy my toy while I had it, but nervous as well. Often times when his romantic life was low he would come back to the idea of this and I figured I was simply helping him out by entertaining the idea of chastity once again.

Things were handled differently this time around. People knew about me. They knew the kind of relationship that he and I had had. They understood why he had two different scene names and knew the origin of the one that I gave him. They were told that I helped him out and that we were good friends and that he would come to me for any kind of information or solace he may need. I was like a Mentor but without the fancy title. And everyone that I have dated or gotten to know has known of him and of our relationship, all the good and the bad of it.

Ownership is not something I take lightly. Even when we were apart I ensured he knew that he could ask me questions about our relationship to help him understand and hopefully to promote growth. I wasn’t going to be very out of touch, not even when I had to learn to set boundaries to help us to realize we weren’t in an O/p relationship any longer. I got to step back and get to know him better as a person. I got to listen as he spoke about the groups in the community while he was trying to find his way. I got to watch him rise up and form a new group when he couldn’t find one that suited him. I got to watch him date a couple of women and I made sure that I was around for conversations when those relationships failed, so we could talk them over and so I could help him heal. I did not pursue any kind of relationship with him at any time and he never pursued much with me either. We spent our time getting to know one another.

There was one night where we did decide to see if we still had chemistry. I wanted to play and he was available and there was a hood that had been out of commission for some time, so I put him in the hood and we had an enjoyable evening together. We had a long day date. We slept together and enjoyed one another and reveled in the way some walls came down now that we were no longer arguing about what Ownership was or wasn’t; what I was entitled to and what he felt I was not entitled to.

To me, the turning point was when we came full circle to the question of what is protocol and ritual? We had fought about this in the past. He disliked it. He did it, he sometimes did it unknowingly, and as long as I never called it protocol or ritual he seemed okay with it. My 5:30am texts. The way he was always to walk to my left. I never had to ask him to get the doors for me because he did it naturally. We had a ritual of putting his hood on, even though he couldn’t see most of it. He was asking me what the purpose was of it and since I no longer felt like he was attacking my views and beliefs I could easily explain that it was something done to make a relationship special. I’d just attended more classes and discussions on this one topic than most people have gone to in their entire lives and felt that was the primary idea that I took away from it.

Then he asked: Why didn’t we have protocol and ritual? I remember laughing a bit and explaining that he was always too stuck in his own mind about what they were and what purpose they served to be able to engage in them with me, but that we had those aforementioned. We just didn’t call them by those names. And then, to my surprise, he explained he understood the importance of them now.

Conversation is never hard to come by with him. We spoke a lot about Ownership and being owned. We talked a lot about how he had had a fantasy of Ownership and how it should be and kept trying to steer us in that direction and how that didn’t work. He told me that he understood now that if he was going to surrender, he had to do it all the way. He had to surrender and let me steer. We discussed how our relationship would work out. We may not be ideal romantic partners but we certainly could work in an O/p relationship. I enjoyed the idea of him being my toy that I lent out. I loved having him in chastity. Our major point of contention in the past had been the fact that I am poly and he claimed he was not and he’s done a beautiful job of accepting and being accepted into my poly family. He’s been able to enjoy his own relationships without severing ties with me.

He wanted to return to me what was rightfully mine and I wanted to get to enjoy what has been rightfully mine all along. We negotiated this time. Our negotiations ended in the same place they were last time. This time we both feel better about it. We both feel better prepared for it. He knows that before entering any relationship he will have to understand that he will undergo periods of time where he is in chastity and that’s a huge part of his sexual make-up and fulfillment. It doesn’t mean he can’t be sexual or intimate with them, just that they will have to find other ways to play sometimes. Now that we both understand better what the other wanted and needed and expected, I no longer feel restricted in what I can ask of him. I have the freedom to enjoy him just as I had envisioned.

Devin has been re-pierced. He has turned himself over to me once again. I own him once again. This time we will see everything through. I’m looking forward to the first time I lock that steel device on him.



{May 9, 2013}   Stress

This time of year is stressful for me. Holidays can be stressful on account of money and restricted time and figuring out where everyone’s going to be. Birthdays can be stressful because I never know which partner someone’s going to want to be with on their birthday or if they’re going to want to try to share it with everyone, somehow. Day-to-day life isn’t usually stressful for me but I’ve found instances where it can be.

Last night I got to celebrate Junk’s birthday with her family. We went to see her parents and we had a great dinner and she opened up her presents. Her mother gets her very nice gifts, the kinds of gifts a mother waits and waits to be able to give her child until they’re old enough to appreciate them. She buys her perfume and lotions and nice things for the kitchen for when she cooks. She gifts her with money so she can buy some things she really wants for herself and other thoughtful things. I’ve seen her give her clothes and enjoy watching her put them on. She loved seeing her in her make-up.

I got her a Rainbow Dash doll and she got socks and iron-on My Little Pony badges from Tiger. We got her the cute silly things because we know that side of her. That’s my relationship with her. That’s his relationship with her as well. We often joke, though it never is a joke, that he’s her step-mom. The mom she’s never really known. He’s maternal and caring and forever patient with her. He reinforces my rules for her, ensures she’s checking with me before doing something silly, and often stepping in to distract me before I realize she’s doing something she shouldn’t be, giving her that buffer of time to realize her mistake and to correct it. He has great empathy for her, great compersion for her, a great appreciation for who she is and the role she plays in my life. He found the perfect way to join the family without even trying, by just being himself, by complementing that missing piece.

Today I got to celebrate her real birthday with her. I got to wake up and give her a kiss and wish her a good day. I brought her home a flower, had dinner with her, ran errands with her. We worked on a project together and watched a kid’s movie together. I made sure to highlight our dynamic through some of our favorite play and then put her down for a nap before she had to break the game and join the real world of work and finding a new place to live and everyday stresses.

Tomorrow I face the anniversary of the worst day of my life. This year it’s worse for no good reason except that perhaps when it happened it occurred on a Friday and is again falling on a Friday. Some years I handle it better than others. Some years I can just be happy and make it through the day. Other years, like this one, I spend the day in regret which is not my normal self. Normally I can accept the things I cannot change and move on. In almost aspect of my life, when something is completely out of my control, it doesn’t even enter my mind, cause me stress, or induce anxiety. This is completely within my control. I could just let go and move on and never experience a day like this again but for some reason I can’t.

A year out of high school and fresh into the world of living on my own I was struggling. I was living with someone I loved. I wasn’t in love with him, as the saying goes, but we cared enough about one another that we lived together and took care of one another and eventually wed. At the time we were living in a garage that someone had converted into an apartment when his daughter needed somewhere to live. She wasn’t occupying it and we were willing to pay so that’s where we lived for a year.

We were poor. We had enough money to eat but we had to get food from the food bank to supplement us most weeks. We could pay our bills, mostly. I’d just gotten a job after a major surgery I had and was having issues adjusting to that, to the level of physical activity that it required after I’d spent so many years not being able to be physical at all. We couldn’t afford anything extra, not even the gas money to go and to see my family who lived 15 and 20 miles away. I didn’t see a lot of my family that year but we weren’t on the best of terms anyhow.

That Friday before Mother’s Day my grandma called me and asked if I had my Dad’s number. Years ago that wouldn’t have been a big deal but my grandma and my dad hadn’t spoken in at least a couple of years. Not willingly anyhow. A couple of hours later my Dad called and said he wanted everyone at his house at 4 and he didn’t care how we got there. It wasn’t like him to organize anything for Mother’s Day, especially since he’d spent so much time telling us how much he hated our mom and how he was so much happier with his new girlfriend. He didn’t often take that tone with any of us though and so I was inclined to oblige.

When I got to his house all my siblings were there, which was unusual — it wasn’t his weekend. We sat around joking about how mom was going to kill him when she found out he’d taken the kids out of school. He was a schemer though, so maybe this was his way of getting her to where we were so we could celebrate with him. There was tension, but we were ignoring it. The phone was ringing, but we were told to not mind it. Don’t even answer it, it was no one important.

We sat around for an hour or two, enjoying the company of one another, snacking. My dad’s cell phone rang and he was nowhere to be found. I picked it up and took it outside to him because while he said it was no one important, I knew it was. Otherwise he wouldn’t be on the phone so much. I saw him with my stepdad. In that instant, my whole world collapsed. There was only one reason in this whole wide world why the two would be standing face-to-face speaking instead of throwing punches at one another.

I also knew in that instant that I couldn’t say anything. I went back in and heard the peals of laughter from my siblings and suddenly it made me sick. I was angry my dad let us sit here having fun this whole time. I was enraged that we’d been here so long in the first place. Then my grandparents showed up. All I remember then was that as the four of them stood in the room, all the laughter died. All the color drained from the world. All the crying, from all the people I never saw cry, began.

That was the last day we were a family. Everything that happened after they broke the news tore every one of us apart in ways we never even knew could happen. No one could have ever prepared me for how difficult that transition could be.

Each of us carries our own guilt. My sister got in a fight with our Mom that very morning before she went to school. Another hadn’t spent enough time with her. My brother hadn’t been nice to her. The other didn’t tell her that he loved her.

My guilt is this: Thursday evening it was tradition for my mom, my grandmother, and I, all living in separate houses, to watch ER. The episode that aired that Thursday night was the one where Dr. Greene finally passed away in his home. The song that played during that episode still haunts me to this day. After the show, after I stopped bawling, I wanted to call my mom. I thought of a very important question I needed to ask her: When you pass away, do you want to be buried or cremated? It was important to know. But it was late and I knew she got up much earlier than I did. I figured I’d ask her tomorrow when we finally discussed it.

The question that no one could seem to answer as we sat together in that living room crying was whether she wanted to be buried or cremated.



{April 29, 2013}   Music Therapy

These songs are for my friends.

 



{April 22, 2013}   Birthday

For those who know me, they’re aware this particular post is late. My birthday has been done and over with for some time now. Birthdays are always difficult for me to write about though which is why the lapse in time between celebration and dissection in words. My birthday is a very spiritual day for me. I use my birthday to begin and conclude my year, as opposed to the first of January every year. I spend entirely too much time looking at my past year, trying to figure out where I failed so that I can learn from my mistakes and not repeat them. I set new goals for myself that I hope to achieve. I don’t usually discuss these with anyhow. This year, I had a partner that wanted to mark down our goals and he wanted to do it at the beginning of the actual year, which didn’t feel quite right to me, but I liked the idea of setting goals with someone else and striving to achieve them.

Before I get into that though, I wanted to mark down what actually occurred in this past year for me.

 

  • Celebrated 1 year with Junk
  • Started dating the Rook
  • Saw Junk through her first relationship, outside of ours
  • Broke up with Devin
  • Addressed my health issues
  • Dealt with a feud in my poly family
  • Put together feasts for our extended poly family to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas
  • Went to my first leather conference with my own sub. Then a second.
  • Took my first vacation with Junk (Seattle! In a car!)
  • Saw Rook take on his first successful romantic D/s relationship
  • Watched as both Junk and Rook gained notoriety within our community
  • Met Tiger
  • Attended my first SWLC
  • Reclaimed my former title: Master
  • Celebrated my second Valentine’s Day; my first Valentine’s Day in a poly setting
  • I finally joined MAsT
  • Bid farewell to my 20’s

There were certainly other things that happened throughout the year, like making new friends and trying new scenes and working on myself to further discover what it is that turns me on or makes me tick, but that’s a pretty good summary of the things that happened in the past year.

As I was asked to create my list of goals, I broke them down into the following categories: Family, Social, Financial, Spiritual, Emotional, and Physical. I’ve always done a great job of highlighting what I haven’t accomplished and so I figure, just for a change of pace, today I’ll actually talk about something I have accomplished, something I don’t talk about with anyone.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had gender identity issues. I’ve never identified as transgender but I like to think I have some idea of where they may be coming from. For the longest time, I felt I should exist as a male. As a very masculine man. But my body is very obviously female. I struggled with this for a number of reasons and they weren’t all physical, but there was always a physical side to it. For nearly a decade, I didn’t look in a mirror. I’d glance as I was brushing my teeth or to make sure there wasn’t anything gnarly on my face, but I never really looked at myself because I knew the reflection was never going to hold how I envision myself.

This had absolutely nothing to do with how I look physically, just that I would never appear male.

Two years ago, not too long after I got divorced, I decided to cut my hair short. I dyed it a fantastic shade of red. For the first time in those 10 years, I stood in front of the mirror and really, really looked at myself. I saw all of my freckles and all of my teeth and my mother’s blue eyes and this short, wild hair. At that moment I liked myself. I’d finally ventured into some gender neutral territory that was good enough for me. I could crossdress and my hair would be appropriate. If I wanted to be more feminine, I could throw a barrette in it (or so I told myself — I never really figured out how to wear one). I could wear hats and look masculine. I had a faux hawk. It was everything I ever wanted.

So for a year of my life I spent my time presenting masculine. Ties and dress up shirts and slacks. T-shirts and clothes only bought from the men’s or boy’s department at stores. Boy shoes. Always boy shoes. Junk seemed to love it. If I wasn’t pulling off masculine on a particular day, I was at least managing super lesbian, something else I’m sure she enjoyed.

But after a year of that, I found I was done. Not that I didn’t want to present that way ever again, but that I didn’t feel I had to. I no longer had something to prove. Everyone accepted this side of me. There was no questioning that there was a masculine energy to me. I had someone ask me if I was interested in expressing my femininity and at that point it was a laudable question. No one else would have dared to ask me such a thing. The answer then was mostly no. Mostly.

I started experimenting a little bit. I bought new make-up and wore it but no one really said anything. I tried more feminine clothing, but there was no real remark. I was in foreign territory. I didn’t know anything about women’s fashion or how to dress my body or anything. I drifted back and forth, arguing with myself. I shouldn’t have to wear make-up to be considered pretty. I shouldn’t have to go through these ridiculous rituals to seem more feminine to other people. No one should have to do that sort of thing. So my experimentation really only went so far as to try to be more comfortable being naked with my lovers.

It really wasn’t until I met my Tiger that I started getting to know my body and I really only started then because I genuinely could not see the things he was seeing. He would curl up against my body and run his hands over my thighs and tell me that he loved them and I didn’t understand. Not just because my thighs certainly do not look like the average woman’s, but because I couldn’t figure out what it was he loved about them.

Later he would tell me that he loved my soft skin. That I’d heard before and that I could agree with.

Then he would tell me that he thought I was beautiful. That again was new and strange to me. Cute, sure. I’ve been called cute before. Not beautiful though. And never sexy, which was probably the next thing that came from him. That one took me much, much longer to understand.

But after each weekend I’d spend with him, I’d come home and look at these parts of my body. Really study them. For the first time in ever, when I masturbated, I actually touched my thighs. I stood naked in front of a full length mirror. I borrowed his eyes in order to see myself in a more feminine and appealing way. It still took some time. I struggled with it at first but eventually I got there. Now I find myself comfortable enough to be naked in his house all the time (which really was a struggle in the beginning) and to even enjoy being naked in my own house when I don’t have someone around constantly complimenting my body. I’ve found a new comfort in my skin.

While seeing it through his eyes helped immensely, there was some of my own work being done as well. Last year was the first time I’d seen a doctor in ages. I’ve always kind of avoided them. I was afraid they wouldn’t have anything good to tell me or that there’d be some condition I had no control over or something of the sort. But last year I was tired of just being afraid and I had a legitimate issue that I’d never been able to address before that I wanted to finally look into. I wasn’t ecstatic to get my actual weight and height relayed to me and I wasn’t real happy to hear about the kind of treatment I’d have to go through to clear up my issues, but at least I wasn’t just cowering in the back anymore. At least I was finally taking control.

Hearing my weight was kind of a shock for me. I’ve maintained about the same size for most of my adult life and so didn’t think much about it. I know that a few years before my divorce I gained quite a bit and hit my biggest size ever — a 26 — and that was enough of a warning to me to get something under control and I was able to bring it back down a size and maintain that for quite some time. I struggled with eating well because my spouse did not believe in eating at home or even in eating well. It was fast food for every meal. I eventually had to ban french fries from my diet because we were, seriously, eating them every night of our lives. But I’d never really done anything more than that to help myself out. I shouldn’t have been surprised at all to hear that I clocked in at a whopping 300 lbs. Still, I was surprised. And unhappy.

But I didn’t feel that I was gross or disgusting or unattractive. I didn’t want to feed into losing weight to be a ‘normal’ size. I still don’t. What I did want was to be stronger and that has always been a goal of mine. I enjoy wrestling around and I have one partner that I think is ridiculously strong and I want to always be able to pin him. Or at least make him earn getting to pin me.

More than that though, I have the fact looming over me that I have heart problems in my family. My mother and her father both died of sudden heart attacks at the age of 42 and I sure am not getting younger.

So I made one conscious decision: I was going to slow down on soda. This was a big thing for me because even when I first started dating Junk there always had to be a 12 pack of Diet Coke in the fridge. Now, we have a soda ban in the house. We can indulge every now and again outside with a dinner but our primary drink is water and tea.

That was the only conscious decision I made. However, over the past year, Junk has taught me how to eat healthier and has made a pretty good effort to prepare us healthy meals when she cooks. My Tiger eats much better than I ever did and cooks healthy for us when we’re together. Devin always seemed to enjoy making chicken and was really the person that paved the way to eating chicken in my life. Until then I would actively avoid and even refuse eating the stuff. And I took an interest in cooking for myself, as opposed to eating out all the time. I still really only make eggs (and failed omelettes) but it’s better than fast food every day.

But none of this really seemed to take effect for me. It was only ever at the back of my mind because despite my size and my weight, I’ve still learned to love my body. I enjoy dressing in a way that makes my body appealing. I’ve always had wonderful partners who have appreciated my body type and have found me attractive.

It wasn’t until I saw another doctor just recently and I had to be weighed that I realized that this has all made a difference. She seemed to hold her breath when she told me my new weight, possibly afraid of my reaction. I didn’t say anything for a minute and then laughed. I’d lost 52 lbs in six months without any real effort whatsoever.

More than that though, more impressively to me, I’m drinking a ton of water every day (a habit that got drilled into my head by the Rook and implemented by Tiger). I have much more stamina when I’m out and about or walking. And lately, I’ve even taken to actually, intentionally, walking a half an hour every morning. And jogging throughout parts of it. Two years ago I would have laughed at the idea of ever jogging. Ever. Now I look forward to it every single day.

So while the initial loss wasn’t intentional, what I’m doing for myself now is. I’ve cut out soda, I’m trying to eat better, I choose healthier snacks, and I’m using my body in better ways. I’m hoping, like always, that this year will be better than the last.



{February 26, 2013}   Anniversary

This is the one year anniversary of our officially declared relationship dynamic. I don’t talk about my relationship with Junk all that much because, truth be told, I had a lot of trouble accepting our relationship when it began. Not when it first began, just when we made this dynamic official.

Our relationship really began the night that our mutual friend brought her as a date to our gaming night. Me and this mutual friend’s boyfriend were sitting together musing over the fact that he was bringing this girl, on their first date, to meet all of his lovers at once and were wondering if that was such a great idea. Nothing happened that night between me and Junk except me interrogating her to see if she was kinky. When she blushed bright red at every one of my questions I knew she was. I’m not sure she knew she was or not. I invited her to a TNG social. I lured her in by comforting her with the fact that there were other trans people in our group and she agreed to a social. After the social ended, a group of us were going out for drinks. She was too young to get into a bar, so I ditched her, essentially. We weren’t there together. We weren’t dating. I was just getting her foot in the door.

The following week she showed up at game night again, only this time she brought pie that she made. Pumpkin pie. She asked me if I wanted some and I said yes but that I was busy talking to someone else right then and didn’t want to get up to get it. So she brought it to me. I held it for a moment, eyeing it, and she wandered off. A minute later she realized she didn’t bring any utensil and so fetched a fork, delivered it to me, and that was pretty much where everything started. Service oriented people make me swoon.

For the first month, she spent every waking moment with me, so long as I wasn’t pushing her out my front door. She got obsessed, to the point that she missed at least one important event because she was busy spending time with me. I felt guilty, but ultimately it was her responsibility to keep track of what was going on in her life — I didn’t own her, I wasn’t her Dom, we were just hanging out. We started discussing play and I took her to PetSmart to pick out a collar for our play sessions. At the end of that first play session, she just never took it off. She asked to wear it home and I thought she meant in the car, to her house, and then would take it off. She didn’t take it off at all. Her parents saw it, her friends saw it, and I didn’t have any idea about it until later.

To this day, she’s worn my collar. She’s never taken it off. I bought her a new one for her birthday that wasn’t a blatant dog collar — it’s black with rainbow rhinestones on it and a tag that reads “Aki’s” on one side and “Junk” on the other.

This was not the dynamic that I had issues with.

Shortly after she got engrossed in the community she learned about Littles and decided that was the path for her. I was adamantly against being in a relationship with a Little. There are a lot of negative connotations regarding Littles. But I would also be a bad partner if I completely denied a part of who she really is. I asked for time and space to accept this, to alter the relationship to honor the dynamic that was going to work best for her, and she did her best. There was a lot of pushing and a lot of struggling. I had to overcome some of my own misconceptions, my own perceptions, and my own baggage in order to be any kind of partner to her. I was juggling a lot of demands, a lot of past history, and a lot of personal demons. I didn’t always handle her needs with grace the way I wanted to. I know that at least once I had a complete shut down and that did not help either of us.

As the months went on, I got a little more accustomed to what she wanted and needed. I started to draw my own personal boundaries in order to feel safe giving her as much of her wants and needs as I could. I could never, ever be a ‘Mommy’. I have too many gender issues for that. I have too many negative stereotypes and I feel there’s too much pressure to be/act a certain way that is way outside of my own nature to fulfill a ‘Mother’ role. At the same time, I wasn’t so sure about claiming a title from the other end of the gender spectrum. She seemed to have some difficulty in it at first as well, but it was the only thing that fit: Daddy. I’ve been Daddy now for a year and I couldn’t really imagine being anything else to her. She doesn’t identify as slave and while I do identify as a Master, I don’t feel as though I am her Master. I do feel as though I own her though, in the way a parent might own a child. The way a parent guides a child and makes decisions for them to better their life. Daddy just fits.

Unfortunately, as we moved into this dynamic, the sexual part of our relationship also died. This is entirely my fault. I had a very hard time working through my own issues, through the mindset of Daddy/daughter, to pursue any kind of sexual relationship with her. Every now and again something sexual will happen and we’ll both enjoy it. But just as soon as I have that positive experience, I’ll also have a negative one, and so I end up shying away from it again. We both love the taboo part of a Daddy/daughter dynamic and I’m working hard on my own emotional stuff in order to achieve that so we can both enjoy ourselves in our dynamic and in a sexual relationship.

So our relationship hasn’t been easy. It hasn’t been as flawless as it sometimes appears. She had another partner for a while in the past year that we’ve been together and sometimes it went well and sometimes it didn’t. I’ve never had a polyamorous sub before. Part of my control over them in the past has been putting them in a monogamous relationship with me while I was polyamorous and had multiple relationships. I’m working to overcome this need or desire as well. I’m learning to feel control and Ownership without forcing my partner to be monogamous. I’d much rather teach my girl how to love and be loved by as many people as possible than for her to require all of her needs to be met by me anyhow.

As we bring this year to a close, we go through a ritual that I go through every year for anything of importance: we evaluate and reconsider. At our anniversary, we discuss what we like about our relationship. We discuss what we’d like to see changed in our relationship. We discuss where we might like to see the relationship go. Then, we take a day of reconsideration. We are currently at that day.

When she said good-night to me tonight, I had her kneel before me. For the first time in over a year, I took back my collar. I took back the necklace that I have her wear in lieu of her collar in the workplace. I placed them on the counter in plain sight. Then I kissed her and I told her I loved her and I sent her home.

For all of tonight and all of tomorrow she will reconsider. She will reconsider if this is a relationship she wants to be a part of. She will reconsider if I am the person she wants to be in a power exchange relationship with. She will reconsider our relationship dynamic. She will reconsider wearing my collar. She will reconsider being my daughter and having me as a Daddy. On Thursday, on our one year anniversary (or as close to it as possible, as the true date is the 29th), I will offer her my collar once more and it will be up to her to decide to accept or reject it.

This process is important to me. This ensures that every year there will come a time where she is free to walk away from the relationship. She always is — that is a choice she always has — but I fear sometimes she would stay out of guilt or out of obligation. For this day, she is not collared to me. For this day, she has no rules, no protocol, no nothing. This way, she can see if maybe she would really rather be free than to be mine.

I may not always need this ritual. At least not with her. But for now, this is what we’re going through. This isn’t easy for her. I knew it from the time I took the collar off of her. I knew it from the moment I told her what we were doing. But it’s not easy for me either. It’s not easy to see her collar here, instead of around her neck where it belongs. It’s not easy but for me it’s necessary and if she returns and accepts my collar all over again, after this day of freedom, it will mean all the more to me.



et cetera